Ogmore MP Chris Elmore has called on the government to make tackling scams a strategic policing priority, following a spike in economic crime related to free TV licenses.
During Prime Minister’s Questions today, Chris called on Boris Johnson to ensure there was sufficient funding for police forces to allow them to fully investigate and prosecute the growing number of fraudsters targeting elderly and vulnerable people across the UK.
Age UK recently issued a warning that scammers were targeting innocent TV licence fee payers ahead of plans to scrap free licenses for the over 75s. The charity has assessed that there could be a 13 per cent increase in fraud arising from the decision to scrap government-funded free TV licenses, which could see the elderly losing around £320,000.
The Conservative Party pledged to protect free TV licenses in their 2017 General Election manifesto but have since gone back on this promise and handed responsibility for funding free licenses over to the BBC.
Following Prime Minister’s Questions, Chris Elmore MP said:
“Scams are unpleasant at the best of times, but when they are specifically targeting the elderly and vulnerable in our communities, they are particularly abhorrent.
“A person is more likely to be targeted by a scam than any other type of crime. Instead of helping our communities be become more resilient to this fraud epidemic, the government is heel bent on making the situation worse.
“The Tories need to honour their clear manifesto commitment to protect free TV licences for the over 75s and make tackling this type of crime a strategic policing priority.”
Which? has documented a rise in TV licensing refund scams, reporting that between 1st and 20th September 2018, there were 799 reports of scam emails which promised a refund of the TV licence. After publishing their report, the number of complaints rose sharply to, on average, 68 a day.